Darling little songbird
Caught in the endless roar
Of man grinding his machines,
Progress and riot and war-
Such a pure melody,
Can it matter from whence you sing?
The dawn of life
Cradled hollow bones on wing
Winds of change, blindly persistent
Lifting you ever higher
Frail lungs expelling praise
Beauty born of fragility to inspire
Love in kind, like from like-
Whether caged or free
Beloved little bird
When God formed me
Did He think of you?
One moment, we both in flight
Turn to the sun,
The warmth of light
Carries us both home
Past the cruel usurpations
Of sandcastles and capture the flag
Slavery by innovation
Simplicity builds our home
Nesting in the songs that precede us
And in our timeline rooted
No din may impede us.
The sun will rise golden and sure.
Kingdoms will rise and crumble
Names will be heralded, feared, forgotten.
The mighty will run, and stumble,
And fall to gray, and spots, and death.
Yet you will sing
Your faithful opus raising
An anthem to our Creator King
Who was, and is, and is to come.
All our covert messages
Carried into the broad darkness
The stealthiest passages
Fallen, couriers by night
Commissioned to cross the battle lines
With the blueprints of our affections
Fallen into those mercantile minds
Dissecting the mystery for fishhooks
Gutting gill to tail to find the coin
Discarding the carcass undelivered
Paying me a coin to enlist, to join
The hands that smell of guts and rust:
This is my defense of silence.
And they’ve painted you a tart
Driving you through the public square
In open ridicule, the angry mob
Gaining wealth on slanderous wares
Maligning your origins, your heritage
At the first, how I advocated for your plight!
In delicate orations and tangled passion
Railing against the ignorant night
Threatening to close on us all.
Forced into gutters and foreign spaces
Mocked as a senseless jester,
Taken as a harlot through indelicate places
Until I stopped treating our post
With the graces it deserves.
Forgive me my unfaithfulness
Most eloquent and noble lover,
Send me constructions of introductions-
I pledge to read them undercover
If my mother tongue hasn’t cloyed
Numb and useless, still she sits
A colored stone cast as judgment
Her punishment severe persists
As my mounting inabilities
To recall your former visage
An open letter must get through,
A whispered hope of visit
Through the twilight fog it twirls, it twists,
Ghosts swirling in the gasses
Dancing as I yearn to dance with you,
In reunion of our passions!
Motionless, I’ve also paused in my tracks
To watch the woods fill up with snow
The flitting beauty falls to rest in stacks
And this one thing I’ve seen, I know,
God makes everything beautiful in its time.
My children laugh like the north wind
Pinked noses exhaling joy in play
In the fresh refrains their voices send,
I remember sorrow is passing away
Reeling in death throes against the night.
Already the carriage wheels roll the earth
Draped in layers of silken shroud
Carrying our strain and sin from birth
To sink beneath the cold, dark ground
Fresh snow momentarily covers the wake.
The life that rots, the worm that eats,
All these lay buried underneath the vow:
God will never taste defeat;
He is working even now
To restore the purity He made at first.
Against the screaming, seething dark
Shadows scratching free
In tooth and wail, embark
From the cavernous souls indwelling
A self-perpetuating night
Dealing in energy, trading days
Forcing the flame to open, too bright
Too hot, too attractive
For the moths in fluttering arrays
Who bank their potential
To invest in the day after day after day
Against the gravity of the void
Alice ever falling, aware and on task
While madness unmasked is employed
In measured ampoules by
Some ancient apothecary meted
Dissolving under the tongue
Sanity diagnosed and treated
With the ecstasy of reaching too high
Grasping beyond a standard stay
Brighter until the wick surrenders:
Burns outright or fades away
Against that inky wave.
My lungs are too heavy to breathe,
But I pull against the drag
Sucking in this sudden Spring
While winter is here
And winter is coming
I close my eyes
Inhaling the promise
The sun reminds me
I’m not strong enough
But is this beyond the One
Who framed seasons?
Let each breath be Yours
Pick me up, carry me through
So I may hold hands
And sing with these laden lungs
The virgin cried out
In tremors of foreign pains
Gripping her fullness
In throated, desperate strains
She proclaimed her hallelujah
Hunted, she harbored an eternal reign
Struggling through the gift
Bestowing the timeless name
On her wondrous little boy
In blood and water, it remains
Her agonizing cry of triumph.
May lead Your humble maidens
Through unknown cries
Our names will fade and
Tears shed will evaporate
Rising to a heaven laden
But majesty shines in mangers
The grave itself gave in
After suffering reached full term
All these pangs, we trust You’ve laid them
In Your eternal treasury
As our hallelujahs.
I’ve carried the lies I was given
As far as I was able-
Desperate for them to be true
Building layers into the fable
That never fit the behaviors.
They never loved me,
And how embarrassingly I’ve flailed
Trying to earn it, or make-believe,
Perpetually aching over the ways I failed
To be enduring and endurable.
I’m ready now to set it all down
To accept the truth, to confess
I was always the one clinging,
Cleaning up the mess
Bridging the gap.
I wanted to believe empty words
Let everything be layered in complications
So I could imbue love
Through my many translations,
Beyond the evidence
But it’s always been simple
I wasn’t loved, wasn’t cared for-
Used, abused, neglected
I can’t sift through the ashes anymore
For what was never there.
All these years building,
But nothing stands
The relationships I craved
Held for ransom demands
I must no longer pay.
And in the flood that follows
The breaking dam,
I’m lost in the worst riptide
Questioning who I am
And what I’ve believed.
Come find me.
Don’t leave me out here
To drowned in the grief,
In the unmet hope and deepest fear
Of the unloved little child.
Who are You?
What am I?
Mute, empty, but if You cared,
If that wasn’t my own lie,
Come find me.
May God be true
And every man a liar.
We see in part and move,
But His way is higher.
We cling to the selfmade sin
Skewing our ability to see;
Let The Sinless One
Ever blessed be.
If I never carry another flag,
If I never speak another word,
If I’m thrown on the refuse
With the proud and absurd
If I die a thousand silent deaths
And pass from the realm of men
Into eternal punishment,
It fits the perpetual sin
Stained by the grief of the repetition,
The dysfunction, the mangled twists-
My failure to achieve the standard
Cannot negate He exists.
I wash my hands as Pilate.
I withdraw into my pains
While outside this faithless space
The King Eternal reigns.
They whispered to me
As a child in dreams
Or over simplistic meals
They repeated in screams
The things I cannot unlearn
And it burned my ears
What I learned by rote
I don’t scream. I don’t sing,
But I learned every note:
All things are being shattered
At once or in slow-motion
It’s hard to build on bits of glass
To look at the things you can’t take back
And build anyway- it’s crass
But I tried.
I haven’t cried in years
Because grief gives way
To acceptance, I guess
What is left to say?
To unbreak a broken thing
Takes more than an ability
To cry, or scream, or sing.
It isn’t safe to talk here
The walls have ears
But not a heart
They’ll hear you and turn
And tear you apart
Put them in vases
Hide their faces
Underneath and in between
Dress them in layers
Safest yet is still unseen.
The constant dripping shocks
A solid system, eroding rock
In volatile, violent increments
Of dull constancy
Surgery under fluid instruments
Rearrange my little stones
Until the rain finds me alone
Carrying me downstream
With mad intentions
I do not flinch. I cannot scream.
Lullabies echo from the belly of the beast,
It beckons the cradle come to the feast
I have stared it down before
Hallways like extended arms
Fingers flexing like flapping doors
Who will pay the man what’s due?
Who can afford the bills accrued
Under all the stories told
Under these riddles hiding
In corners dark and cold
They’ll hear you.